Pension Gifts

The Lady Downstairs

The nice lady from the third floor has graced us with another visit. She asked if it would be OK to give the children 500 yen each to pick out a book at the bookstore, saying that she was sure they could pick the books they like better than she could. She receives her national pension on the 15th of each month, and seems to spend the 2 preceding weeks thinking of how to use it. The children sat down with her on the floor near the front door joyfully accepted her gift money and chocolates, making her very happy. We biked to a bookstore in a new shopping center and got some craft books, a Pokemon board book and some manga, Japanese comic book style novelettes. We'll be sure to show her the books when she stops by next Saturday with red bean filled rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves (I think they're oak leaves) for Boy's Day a few days early.



I'm down to the last week as VP of the kindergarten PTA and only have one more orientation meeting and a formal speech to get through next week. The incoming VP says she appreciates the streamlining I accomplished and plans to continue using my model. What a relief.

While I was conducting the changeover meeting at the kindergarten this morning, the elementary school district safety committee meeting was being held closer to home to choose this year's area leaders. There are 4 areas with 5 subgroups or so per area. As we have a 6th grader, the subgroup leadership fell to me this year. I have to make a telephone tree with the 8 families in our sub group and distribute various documents and safety patrol rosters from the main area leader when this year's documents are ready. I called yesterday to let them know that my kindergarten duties would make me late for the meeting.

When I arrived 45 minutes late, the district leader was just putting papers away and all the other people had gone home. She was pleasant, thanking me and asking me to sign in. She said that she hadn't been informed of the area leader for my neighborhood, but that I would hear from last year's subgroup leader with any news.

I learned on the phone this evening from last year's subleader that the 4 other subgroup leaders had been unable to decide upon a leader and had resorted to putting our 5 names in a lottery. Guess who won! In my absence, the other mothers were relieved to lose the lottery and leave making traffic safety documents and a patrol roster of 60 families up to yours truly. Fortunately last year's subleader will give me a big bag full of last year's documents I can reference in organizing this year's plan.

This supposedly gets me off the hook for other school committees this year, so I won't have to organize the summer pottery painting, the fall sports day, the winter rice cake festival, the PTA election...this year. Also, next time we have a 6th grader (next year), I can be excluded in any lotteries if things get so bad that lotteries are required for selecting leaders. I don't know how many times this exclusion is valid, as most people only have 1 or 2 children.


New School Year

The kids started their new school year on Wednesday. The cherry trees blossomed that day as well, just after Mom and Dad left the country. The park is full of families playing in a flurry of petals. Tomorrow we'll go on a picnic at our usual spot along the nearby river where there is a bank of cherry trees.